From the first, the West’s latest adventure in Afghanistan has been a war without a clear casus belli, launched after 9/11 and sustained without a central strategic purpose – Anti-terrorism? Democracy? Women’s rights? Anti-drugs? – against enemy or enemies uncertain (...). It has long looked like a war fought as an end in itself, the only real aim of which is to reassert the authority of America and its allies and provide them with an ersatz sense of mission. Inevitably, it has done the opposite, exposing the absence of any coherent worldview or clue as to what they are doing in Washington or Whitehall.
Now the self-defeating mission-free military occupation of Afghanistan is reaching new depths of absurdity. First US president Obama announced a fresh ‘surge’ of American forces into the battle-zone – at the same time as floating plans for a withdrawal from 2011. Hence NATO simultaneously appeared to declare war and admit defeat (...). Now NATO has fanfared its largest Afghan offensive since 2001 – a campaign, according to reports, ‘to impose government control on rebel areas before US forces start to withdraw by [President Obama’s] self-imposed 2011 deadline’. So, it’s total war! Until, er, next year, then we’re off. In the meantime we have given the rebels fair warning we were coming, and a timetable to go away and think about….
Who needs the Taliban anyway when the West is evidently so capable of outwitting and defeating itself? We are left, not for the first time, facing the worst of all worlds – an occupation without purpose, a dangerous military offensive without goals, a war without causes but plenty of casualties.
The problem with the Afghan war for the US and NATO has always been that its only goal can only be nation building and that it is next to impossible to build a state as occupying powers in a country that has a history of resisting to the death occupation. i don't even think that Obama believes that in twenty years, there will be an Afghan that will be an ally of the United States where there will no longer terrorist threats. On the contrary, he is focused on the short-term and what the "defeatism" and weak image that he would give to Americans if he chooses to withdraw from two wars (Iraq included) by declaring that they are unwinnable, even though experience on the ground shows that they are more than likely or that decades of American blood and treasure to fight to even entertain of the possibility of victory, which seems to be a hollow term in this context.